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Prominent lawyer, politician and legislator Terry McBrayer dies in Lexington at 83 after cancer battle

Staff report

Prominent Kentucky politician, lawyer, and long-time legislator Terry McBrayer died Sunday in Lexington after an extended battle with cancer.

He was 83.

McBrayer held numerous positions in state government. He was an elected member of the House of Representatives, serving in leadership roles of House Speaker Pro Tempore and Majority Floor Leader, and also served as chief executive officer for a governor. He served as chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party and as an active member of the Democratic National Committee.

He was, as his friends would say, a “force of nature.”

He established the law firm that bears his name in February 1963 in his hometown, Greenup, and it as since grown to be the eighth largest firm in the Commonwealth with 50 attorneys in offices located in Lexington, and Louisville and a government affairs practice in the state capitol.

He was a founding fellow of the State Capitol Group, a global network of more than 145 of the profession’s preeminent independent law firm in each of the 50 state capitals and in numerous cities in the US and around the globe. The group allowed law firms to obtain legal advice from multiple jurisdictions, coordinate regional legal service effectively, and reach decision-makers in every state capital and throughout the world.

He was a graduate of Morehead State University and of the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.

In a productive career, he received awards too numerous to detail as well as an honorary doctorate from Morehead University.

His law firm released the following statement:

It is with incredibly heavy hearts that we announce the loss of the founder of our firm, W. Terry McBrayer, who passed away at 1:32 a.m., Sunday, October 11, 2020, in Lexington, Kentucky, after an extended fight with cancer. He is survived by his children, Sarah McBrayer Savarie and John Lawton McBrayer, his sister, Judy McBrayer Campbell, and his five grandchildren, Alex McBrayer, Mina McBrayer, Odin McBrayer, Beatrice Savarie, and Lucy Savarie.
Terry founded the McBrayer law firm in 1963 in Greenup, Kentucky, and his small practice began in a single room rented above a grocery store. In 1966, he was elected to his first term in the Kentucky House of Representatives, eventually serving as House Speaker Pro Tempore and Majority Floor Leader, and this begat a lifetime of political involvement that has left an indelible mark on the Commonwealth. Today, the firm that bears his name has over 50 attorneys, as well as offices in Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, and a government affairs office, MML&K Government Solutions, in Frankfort, Kentucky.

A true fighter to the very end, Terry McBrayer was a statesman, a lawyer, a lobbyist, a mentor, a Kentucky icon, a proud brother, father and grandfather, and a dear friend to all who have known him. His is a loss from which we are not soon to recover.

Funeral arrangements will be announced.

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